iOS 7 teaser (iPhone 5s ad 002)

According to an analyst note by investment firm Wells Fargo Securities Friday, Apple has increased its carrier count and now distributes the iPhone through a total of 323 wireless carriers worldwide.

We know that the iPhone was sold through some 280 carriers as of October so the Cupertino firm has been able to add 43 new carriers in the past seven months.

In contrast with the above figure, the iPhone 5 launched in a hundred countries on 240 different carrier back in September 2012.

And as a basis for further comparison, Apple had 316 carrier partners in mid-April so it’s added seven new carriers since…

The document, obtained by AppleInsider, cites analyst Maynard Um as observing that Tim Cook & Co. have been adding new carriers rather aggressively following a “fairly stable” period during 2011 and 2012.

Unlike Samsung, Apple doesn’t just bring its business to any carrier. Each wireless operator must meet the firm’s exacting standards in terms of customers service, marketing, network quality and more, if it’s to land the iconic smartphone.

Of course, the wider the distribution footprint the greater the sales. Just ask Samsung: its Galaxy smartphones are sold through nearly twice as much carriers worldwide.

“Assuming these carriers also get the new iPhone at launch, this could help year over year unit sell-in numbers,” Um wrote.

In addition to new carriers, Apple could benefit from two new iPhones as well – the 4.7 and 5.5-inch models – to address that fast-growing segment of handsets bigger than four inches (because “customers want what we don’t have”).